Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Welfare reforms and child well-being in the US and UK

By Jane Waldfogel


This paper examines the effects of recent welfare reforms in the US and UK on the well-being of children in low-income families, looking specifically at the effects on poverty, family expenditures, and child health and development. The paper finds some commonalities but also some notable differences. Common to both countries is a sizable reduction in child poverty, although the reduction in child poverty in the US has been less, and some families appear to have been left behind. Expenditure data also point to divergence across the two countries. In the UK, low-income families affected by the reforms are spending more money on items related to children and are more likely to own a car and a phone, while in the US, families affected by welfare reforms are primarily spending more money on items related to employment but not items for children. Finally, a common finding across countries is a relative dearth of more direct evidence on the well-being of children, and specifically how the reforms have affected child health and development. Identifying such effects remains an important topic for further research

Topics: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles


  1. (2004). A ‘Third Way’ in Welfare Reform? Evidence from the UK.’ doi
  2. (2005). A More Equal Society? New Labour, Poverty, Inequality and Exclusion. doi
  3. (2003). Child Poverty in Britain and the United States.’ In doi
  4. (2004). Choice for Parents, the Best Start for Children: A Ten Year Strategy for Childcare. London: The Stationery Office.
  5. (2006). Consumption, Income and Material Well-being after Welfare Reform. NBER Working Paper 11976. doi
  6. (2006). Delivering on Child Poverty: What Would It Take? A Report for the Department for Work and Pensions.
  7. (2003). Department for Social Security [DSS]
  8. (2006). Did Welfare Reform Improve the Academic Performance of Children in Low-Income Households?’ doi
  9. (2005). Did Working Families Tax Credit Work? Analyzing the Impact of In-Work Support on Labour Supply and Programme Participation. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi
  10. (2001). Effects of Welfare Reform on Family Income and Poverty.’ doi
  11. (2004). Ending Child Poverty in a Generation? Policies and Prospects in the UK.’ In I. Sawhill (ed). One Percent for the Kids.
  12. (2003). Eradicating Child Poverty in Britain: Welfare Reform and Children since doi
  13. (2002). Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States.’ doi
  14. (2006). Failing the Transition from Welfare to Work: Women Chronically Disconnected from Employment and Cash Welfare.’ doi
  15. (2003). Families and Children
  16. (2004). For Better and For Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families.
  17. (2007). Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children. doi
  18. (2007). How Have Welfare Reform and Expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit Affected Family Expenditures?’ Paper presented at the doi
  19. (2001). How Welfare and Work Policies Affect Children: A Synthesis of Research. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.
  20. (2002). How Welfare and Work Policies for Parents Affect Adolescents: A Synthesis of Research. doi
  21. (2003). Income Support Quarterly Enquiry.
  22. (2004). Inequality and the State. doi
  23. (2001). Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects.’ doi
  24. (2005). Maternal Nonstandard Work Schedules and Child Outcomes.’ Paper presented prepared for the Biennial Conference of Society for Child Development, doi
  25. (2005). Maternal Working Conditions and Child Well-Being in Welfare-Leaving Families. National Poverty Center Working Paper #05-5. doi
  26. (2006). Maternity Leave for the Poor: Welfare-to-Work Exemptions and Employment Rates among Single Mothers with Young Children.’ Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Meeting,
  27. (2003). Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption.’ doi
  28. (1994). Parents’ Jobs and Children’s Lives. doi
  29. (2007). Poverty, Work, and Policy: The United States in Comparative Perspective.’ Testimony for the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, Congress of the United States.
  30. (2007). Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: Options for the Future of Welfare to Work. An Independent Report to the Department for Work and Pensions.
  31. (1999). Small Expectations: Learning to Be Poor?
  32. (1997). Small Fortunes: Spending on Children, Childhood Poverty, and Parental Sacrifice.
  33. (2006). Tackling Child Poverty in the UK: Are Low-Income Families with Children Starting to Catch Up?’ doi
  34. (2001). Tackling Child Poverty: Giving Every Child the Best Possible Start in Life. Pre-Budget Report document. London:
  35. (2005). That’s the Way the Money Goes: Expenditure Patterns as Real Incomes Rise for the Poorest Families with Children.’ In doi
  36. (1997). The Consequences of Growing Up Poor. doi
  37. (2007). The Earned Income Tax Credit doi
  38. (2004). The Effects of Welfare and Tax Reform: The Material Well-Being of Single Mothers in the 1980s and 1990s.’ doi
  39. (1999). The Initial Impacts of Welfare Reform on the Incomes of Single Mother Families.
  40. (2003). The Welfare We Want. doi
  41. (2005). Watching the Clock Tick: Factors Associated with doi
  42. (2006). Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper 12642. doi
  43. (2003). Welfare Reform and Lone Parents’ Employment in the UK. doi
  44. (2004). Welfare Reform and Preschoolers: Are Certain Children at Risk?’ Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America,
  45. (2007). Welfare Reform in the UK: 1887-2007.’ Paper presented at the Economic Council
  46. (2005). Welfare Reform: Effects of a Decade of Change.
  47. (2007). Welfare Reform: The US Experience.’ Paper presented at the Economic Council
  48. (2001). Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers. doi
  49. (2006). What Children Need. Cambridge: doi
  50. (2007). What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and What We Need to Know about Welfare Reform.’ Paper presented at the doi
  51. (2007). Work and Pensions [DWP]
  52. Work and Pensions [DWP] (2006a). A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work.
  53. Work and Pensions [DWP] (2006b). Opportunity for All: Eighth Annual Report.
  54. (2001). Work or Welfare? Assessing the Impact of Recent Employment and Policy Changes on Very Young Children.’ Evaluation and Program Planning doi
  55. (2006). Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the doi
  56. (2003). Working Families and Growing Kids: Caring for Children and Adolescents.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.